Party Girls

Opera House, Wellington

06/03/2011 - 06/03/2011

Production Details

THE PARTY GIRLS are on the campaign trail near you!

Geraldine Brophy, Pinky Agnewand Lyndee-Jane Rutherford– the gaggle of gals who brought us the hilarious stage production Grumpy Old Womenin 2010 – have formed the Pinny Party! 

It’s the only party guaranteed to tick all your boxes this Election year!

Where is the voice of sensible womanhood?
Where is the Party that reflects not just the grass roots and the flax roots, but the retouched roots, too?
Who has their sleeves rolled up, and will wield the broom that will sweep New Zealand clean.
Who will poke the big boys where it hurts?
The answer is obvious and the intrepid three vow to bring their Grumpy wisdom to the Nation once again…

Sleeves rolled up, the Pinny Party girls wield the new broom that will sweepNew Zealandclean. 

Story goes that the unlikely trio met at an International Apron Expo. After an exhausting day fingering samples and assessing rick-rack, they adjourn for a cup of tea and an asparagus roll. As you do.Sharing a table, the threesome’s talk turned to the upcoming Elections.

There’s only one way to survive Election Year– laugh!!! 

MARCH 2011
Wed 2     Whangarei – Forum North. Tickets from Ticketek
Thu 3      Hamilton – Clarence Street Theatre. Tickets from Ticketek
Fri 4        New Plymouth – Theatre Royal. Tickets from TicketMaster
Sat 5        Wanganui – Opera House. Tickets from Opera House Box Office
Sun 6      Wellington – Opera House. Tickets from Ticketek
Thu 10    Tauranga – Baycourt. Tickets from Ticketdirect
Sat 12      Hastings – Opera House. Tickets from Ticketdirect
Sun 13    Palmerston North – Regent on Broadway. Tickets from Ticketdirect
Mon 14   Taupo – Great Lake Centre. Tickets from Ticketek
Sat 19      Greymouth – Regent Theatre. Tickets from Regent Theatre Box Office
Sun 20    Blenheim – Civic Theatre. Tickets from Ticketdirect
Tue 22    Nelson – Theatre Royal. Tickets from Everyman Records
Thu 24    Christchurch – Hornby Working Men’s Club (Carmen Rd). Tickets from Ticketek 
Fri 25      Ashburton – Events Centre. Tickets from Ticketdirect
Sat 26     Timaru – Theatre Royal. Tickets from Newman’s MusicWorks
Tue 29    Oamaru – Opera House. Tickets from Ticketdirect
Wed 30  Dunedin – Mayfair. Tickets from Regent Theatre Ticketdirect
Thu 31    Arrowtown – Atheneum Hall. Tickets from Ticketdirect

APRIL 2011 
Fri 1       Gore – SBS St James Theatre. Tickets from Theatre iTicket
Sat 2      Invercargill – Civic Theatre. Tickets from ICC Booking Office  

2 hrs incl. interval | on tour

A good election year stir-up

Review by John Smythe 07th Mar 2011

The Pinny Party girls are campaigning for us to tickle their boxes this election year – and yes, that’s the sort of humour they specialise in. That and toilet humour. And political satire.

The concept is excellent, the script includes some wicked humour at various levels and if the performers could just relax a bit and trust it – trust us to get it – we’d laugh much louder I’m sure. Mind you we might have gone quiet at some gags that seem to fall flat because we were having a good think about the point being made: it doesn’t have to raise a laugh to pack a satirical punch.

The Girls are very diverse and would clearly be red, blue and green if the politics of their gender did not transcend all. The aligning apron is their badge, banner and flag, even if the general shape and function is the only common denominator.

Barb King grew up on Struggle Street in Levin (the nation’s smallest gene pool) and wears her late Nan’s pinny, replete with her own childhood blood, snot and tear stains. She’s hard core working class, as red as her over-rouged cheeks, although her preferred tipple is pale: gin diluted with chateau cardboard chardonnay to make it go further.

Pinky Agnew gives Barb a good seeing to, transcending the broad comedy with a series of hard-hitting monologues that cement her skill as a political satirist.

Adorned with a rawhide apron, replete with bullet hole (I won’t reveal why) and trimmed with furry pelts, Glenda Godley-Hunt is Canterbury high country landed gentry. With blood as blue as her politics, she advocated far right solutions to the party’s core policy triangle: health, education and values. It turns out her station in life, and those adjoining, also represents a gene pool as small at their holdings are large.

There’s nothing refined in Geraldine Brophy’s rendition. This is a hands-on lady of the land; a growler (vocally) who has no truck with namby-pamby do-gooder liberals and knows she is born to rule, provided she can fit a portfolio into her already-packed appointments diary.

Claiming to be 1/38th Ngati Porou, Irihapeti Green (Elizabeth on her birth certificate, no doubt) is a combination born-again ‘wahine toa’ and new-age hippy throwback stoner who embraces free love and claims the moral high ground by ritualising everything. Her campaign-buttoned apron features the slogan, ‘Save Our Bush’.

In possibly her least-subtle performance ever, Lyndee-Jane Rutherford opts for ‘theatre of embarrassment’ both in her character’s behaviour and in laying it on so thick you’d think she thought we were thick. I can’t help feeling she would be funnier if she was gentler.

As it stands, directed by Martin Howells, all three come on very strong throughout their two-hour political revue (including an interval), which mitigates against any light and shade amid the relentless peaks and troughs. The characters deserve much better than this. If the script allowed them more dimension – some vulnerability, perhaps; some insight into the private people behind the public personae – we might warm to them more, get sucked in deeper and even find ourselves wrestling with our own political values.  

There is variety in the content, if not in the delivery. Songs include ‘Three Pinny Girls’ (to The Mikado’s ‘Three Little Maids’), their campaign song ‘Vote P-I-N-N-Y’, ‘It’s Your Country – well rebel if you want to’ (to ‘It’s My Party’, in which kitchen item bras evoke Madonna, Celine and Dolly), the ‘Makeover’ song (to Fiddler on the Roof’s ‘Matchmaker’) and ‘We Will Survive’ for the finale, in which their version of martial law is brilliantly realised.

There are recurring skits in which Brophy’s Glenda offers recipes a la Nigella, Jamie and Gordon; Agnew’s Barb offers handy tips from the grass / flax / re-touched roots; and Rutherford’s Irihapeti has yet another epiphany. And all three get to wear the wig as 50-50 interviewer Bianca Blondbob, whose asks the hard questions that demolish each candidate, which leads to their seeking the solution that transcends – or rather side-steps – democracy.

All three get a number of solo chats that define their characters and politics well, and could be worked on to engage us more. Underwear offers some great visual humour. And nothing defines their differences more entertainingly that their attitudes to childbirth.

Chris Reddington’s set of three billboards allows one to morph into three toilet cubicles for recurring Ladies Room scenes. And costume-wise (designed and made by Cara Louise Wareteni), the ragbag dags of the first half are replaced black-on-black duds thanks to a Paula Ryan makeover.

With a show that trades on topicality, it was both understandable and a little weird, last night, for the Christchurch earthquake to be a no-go zone. Of course it is way too early for it to be mentioned in any way that would not feel awkward, but as the situation becomes more politicised (e.g. Gerry Brownlee’s attitude to heritage buildings), that particular elephant in the theatre may need recognition.

With a punishing tour of one-night stands – 20 towns from Whangarei to Invercargill between 2 March and 2 April* – it’s hard to know if the full potential of Party Girls will be realised. But catch it if you can (click in the title above to find the schedule), if you would like to know the answers to questions like:
Who is so full of it that if you gave him an enema you could bury him in a matchbox?
Who looked as if she was “ridden hard and put away wet”?
Who was the woman on top of which man on top?

Overall Party Girls is a good election year stir-up.
– – – – – – – – –
*Note: The Thursday 24 March performance in Christchurch, originally scheduled for the James Hay Theatre, will now play at Hornby Working Men’s Club, Carmen Rd (cabaret style: bar open 6.30; show starts 7.30pm).
For more production details, click on the title above. Go to Home page to see other Reviews, recent Comments and Forum postings (under Chat Back), and News. 


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